Remember those days when we would still take note and mark our “real” calendars or planners with special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries of our families and friends? In case you get confused, yes, I am talking about the ones made of paper with numbers and letters in it.
With the convenience of technology that we have today, everything is just a click away. No need to write or take notes. In fact, most people do not take notes anymore. Attendees of seminars or meetings will just take a photo of whatever is written on the board. If it is a PowerPoint presentation, you do not have to worry because for sure the presenter will send you a copy via email. I think, the main function of ball pens nowadays is just for signing and not really much of writing like before, agree?
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When it comes to special dates, no need to fret because Facebook will save you. The social network sends you a notification to remind you of a person’s birthday as long as they are on your friends list. Whether you are close or not in real life, you can have the chance to greet the celebrant online. This works vice versa. On your special day, you are overwhelmed with so many wall greetings and well-wishes from your online friends.
Suddenly you feel special, right? Flooded with greetings like a celebrity. 🙂 You even receive greetings from people you cannot even recall how or where you’ve met, most probably because you met only once or maybe she was a friend of a friend but added you and you accepted the request.
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Being a Facebook user for almost 8 years now, I always have my turn for that at least once-in-a-year-fame that I was talking about. In return, I do the same to the people in my friends list. Every day, every birthday notification that would appear on my screen, I usually type Happy birthday! or Happy Birthday! 🙂 (with a smiley). Or If I know the person, then I will add some wishes and click post.
One time while browsing the birthday notifications for that day, I stared at my screen because I cannot decide if I should send a greeting or not. Sounds petty, I know. You might be thinking, how hard will it be sending a simple “happy birthday” to his or her wall, right? The thing is, the last time I had an interaction/communication with this person was last year when I greeted her on her birthday. Nothing else. I don’t even know her email address or mobile number or her whereabouts. We never chat nor exchange likes to each other’s posts. Not even a single comment. In short, we are strangers, in both online and real life. Tell me, did the same thing happened to you? I would guess it did.
What if your birthday is not on your Facebook profile? How many of your social network friends would really remember?
My point is, year after year, we send out greetings to our online friends and in return, we receive the same from them. But have you asked yourself, what if your birthday is not on your Facebook profile? How many of your social network friends would really remember? Or do you think they will even remember to greet you at all? How many of them remembers your special day by heart?
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So for this year, just before my birthday, I decided to have a social experiment. I “removed” my birthday information from my Facebook profile. By removing, I meant that I changed my profile setting and my birthday details can only be viewed by “Only Me“.(If you want to do the same experiment, click here for the information on how to remove your birthday from your account) I am aware that this will potentially hurt my feelings, but I also want to know who among my online friends really remembers without the help of a Facebook reminder.
As expected, my Facebook profile was quiet, just like how it is on a normal day. My family and I were exchanging WhatsApp messages and they greeted me, asking me what will I do the entire day. Out of my 400+ friends on my list, I received 5 birthday wishes and 1 of it was a personal message thru Facebook. One was a close friend since primary school while the other 2 were former colleagues from my last company and the other one was our former housemate whom I treat as one of my sisters. I was really not expecting them to remember, but they did and I feel flattered. 🙂
How did the experiment make you feel?
The way I look at birthdays would be the same with holidays. 🙂 It should be a fun day! A day to relax and be happy.
For me, birthdays are worth celebrating because you are welcoming another year full of great and promising things. Yet for this year, my birthday was a little different. Less noise and fewer people. But my day was still special and I want to thank my husband for all his efforts to always making me feel loved even on regular days. Also, to my family and those people who did not forget. 🙂
A little bit. Maybe because I was also expecting from my closest friends that they would at least remember the date by heart, the way I remember theirs. It’s just sad.
But come to think of it, I personally see this experiment as yet another eye-opener for me about social media and how we, as users, are provided with “temporary connections and happiness“. How the number of likes boosts one’s self-esteem and how we overshare things because we are so hungry for that temporary attention thrown to us.
We are made to believe that our social network community cares, but the truth is, they are either curious or, in this case, just reminded by the system and just going with the flow.
If that’s the case, then I prefer to keep things in my social network profile the way it is right now and I will continue to do what I have started six months ago – sending personal messages to the people who matter to me and greet those whose birthdays I can remember without the Facebook reminder. 🙂
Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, notes or followers, but in your ability to love, keep comments to yourself, take note and lead.